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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Gender as a Category of Knowledge

Alexandra Tyrolf

PhD Project:

Pacific Palisades as lieu de memoire: On Transitional Spaces Established by German-Speaking Female Émigrés on the American West Coast


Description of the Project


The PhD project investigates spatial strategies of adaption and empowerment developed by female German-speaking Jewish émigrés. Space is considered as a product of social interaction, a relational category (following Henri Lefebvre and Martina Löw), as such it offers insights into processes of cultural transfer central to the establishment of transitional spaces actively provided by the émigrés. In doing so the émigrés became mediators between European and American bodies of culture and knowledge on a private as well as on a public level. Being confronted with gendered imaginations of space, the émigrés withdrew from and reconfigured this specific kind of spatial knowledge at the same time. The project deals with concomitant spatial practices by analyzing literary and autobiographical publications written by Marta Feuchtwanger (1891 – 1987), Salka Viertel (1889 – 1978), and Victoria Wolff (1903 – 1992). Letters, diaries, and articles from the personal papers not yet totally analyzed within this scope are taken into further consideration.



Alexandra Tyrolf, American and German studies at the University of Leipzig; from 2009-2011 working as research assistant at the Academy Project Encyclopedia of Jewish Cultures (Saxonian Academy of Sciences and Humanities/Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at Leipzig University); since January 2012 fellow of the PhD Training Program “Gender as a Category of Knowledge” (HU Berlin)


Selected Publications


»Ein Zeitstück, nichts weiter« – Über Vicki Baums Autobiografie Es war alles ganz anders. In: Lifestyle – Mode – Unterhaltung oder doch etwas mehr ? Die andere Seite der Schriftstellerin Vicki Baum (1888 – 1960), hg. v. Susanne Blumesberger u. Jana Mikota, Wien 2013. S. 236 – 255.